Glenn writes in regarding one of my more popular books, Deceptive Strength:
“It’s easy to read as it doesn’t go into minute detail like so many books these days do. So easy to understand and lots of good ideas to help expand on what I’m doing, although I’m still trying to focus on health as I build up to more exercise. I’m using a kettlebell now, but I want to add bodyweight, bridges and leverage and deadlift and muscle control exercises in the future thanks to your enthusiasm on these subjects. Overall an excellent book that was inspirational as well as informational.”
He also asks:
“One other thing you mentioned quickly was that you could work out just once a week. Could you expand on how this would work and what would be the best way to exercise if you were doing this. As exercise is also pro inflammatory, could this be a good idea for someone (like me) who is over 50?”
Yes, you can exercise once a week.
However, and this is a big caveat, that doesn’t mean you can neglect to move the whole rest of the time. The way that we do exercise these days is as a supplement, to our otherwise predominately sedentary lives.
Like some supplements, this exercise can be very powerful in directing us and our body where we want to be health and fitness-wise. Still it is a supplement.
So, yes, you may get results with a formal workout once a week, as long as you’re doing other movement regularly, like walking around, squatting, hanging, carrying things, etc. You know, natural human movement.
What would that workout look like? There are lots of options. Still, you would want to get the biggest bang for your buck in that workout, and it would need to cover all the bases.
Strength would be a big focus. And doing some of the best strength exercises, like squats or deadlifts would be a good fit. At the same time, it would need to be even more full body, so doing some presses and rows would be good too. Naturally, these basics could be done with any sort of tools from barbells to bodyweight.
You’d also want to work your conditioning, which would best be hit by something high intensity. Some of my favorites here would be hill sprints and kettlebell swings or snatches. Of course, how you did the whole rest of the workout could make it cover this base, without needing anything specific for conditioning.
You’d also want to hit on usable flexibility. Some exercises like gymnastic bridges and overhead squats would be ideal.
Shore up the other often neglected spots like the grip and neck, and you could be good to go.
Just one workout and it could all be done in about one hour. Here’s an example of what this could look like, two different workouts, alternating which one you do each week:
- Military Press
- One Arm Row
- Gymnastic Bridge
- Wrestler’s Bridge
- Hill Sprints
- Overhead Squat
- Pinch Grip
- Kettlebell Swings
I know, I know. Everyone is asking, but how many sets and reps?!?
The short answer is: it doesn’t really matter as long as it’s progressive from workout to workout.
Regarding it being inflammatory, the issue is more in HOW you workout.
Yes, there is some sort of inflammation; after all, training is a stressor. But this depends on the severity and volume of the work, plus the environment of the body, not just the frequency of training. All factors are important and ultimately this is what can make great movement either make you greater, or hurt you.